Not if Chuck Greenberg has anything to say about it. Which he did a few minutes ago, when he told writers at the Rangers-Yankees game that Texas is prepared to bid competitively for Cliff Lee this winter. His words: “we’re not going into it with a peashooter.”
The Rangers just signed a big TV deal. If they take care of Yankee business today, Friday or Saturday, the World Series juju will no doubt lead to a nice uptick in season ticket sales. And of course, you can never underestimate the ego and competitiveness of a pro sports owner in Texas. In a town where Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban make headlines for putting an extra cream in their coffee, you can bet that part of Chuck Greenberg really wants to make a splash.
And if you’re Cliff Lee — Arkansas native Cliff Lee — wouldn’t you rather face the anemic AL West offenses all season as a team’s bona fide ace than to head to the AL East where the competition is tougher and where, if you have one bad season, you’re cast as a goat a la A.J. Burnett.
But I’m just speculating in a vacuum here. Who knows what motivates ballplayers to choose the teams they choose, at least if the money is roughly equal. All I know is that it will be nice if the Yankees have some competition for Lee’s services this offseason. Especially if that competition comes from a Texas Rangers team that has, in the space of a little over a week, catapulted itself into the national limelight.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson has become the Phillies’ most enticing trade chip as he’s put together a solid month of July. After shutting out the Marlins on one hit and one walk over six innings on Monday, the right-hander lowered his July ERA to 1.97 and his overall ERA to 3.65. As a result, the Phillies are telling teams they want a top-five prospect to part with Hellickson, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark.
Obviously, a top-five prospect means something different if you’re the Marlins as opposed to the Rangers. And the Phillies’ price point for Hellickson isn’t likely to stay that high, but GM Matt Klentak is setting a lofty starting point so that the return might end up being higher than market value.
ESPN’s Buster Olney speculates that the Phillies could end up holding onto Hellickson and giving him a qualifying offer after the season. He notes that the Phillies have only $25 million tied up for the 2017 season, so they could afford to pay Hellickson in excess of $16 million if he were to accept.
Madison Bumgarner isn’t the only Giants pitcher who can rake. Matt Cain crushed a three-run home run during Tuesday’s game against the Giants.
Cain stepped to the plate with runners on the corner and one out against Reds starter Cody Reed in the bottom of the second inning. Reed threw a 1-1 fastball down the middle and Cain hit it about 20 rows back in the left field seats.
It’s Cain’s first homer of the season, his first since 2012, and the seventh of his 12-year career. He still has some work to catch up to Bumgarner, who has two homers this year and 13 in his career.
On the pitching side of things, Cain got the win against the Reds on Tuesday night, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk with four strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. He currently holds an ugly 5.95 ERA.